Boil water notice issued for Spring neighborhood after E. coli bacteria found – KPRC Click2Houston

SPRING, Texas – A boil water notice was issued Wednesday for a Spring neighborhood after E. coli bacteria were discovered in the water supply.

The Bilma Public Utility District supplies water for 1,800 customers in the Louetta Road area, as well as Kuykendahl Road, Spring-Cypress Road and T.C. Jester Boulevard in northwest Harris County.

The bacteria were found in the water supply on Tuesday. The district’s management company, Hays South Utility Corporation, says the water is being retested and is expected to be declared safe to drink Thursday, though the boil notice remains in effect for now.

Resident Sarah Knight complains she wasn’t notified quickly enough and still doesn’t have enough information to protect her family.

The contamination is a big concern for Knight because her son has a rare immune disorder.

“Our other son, Cooper, passed away from the same condition,” she said.

She said she found out about the water contamination on Tuesday though her HOA Facebook page. She said she and other residents were never directly notified. She said she didn’t receive an email the company said it sent Wednesday.

Knight says she needs to know exactly what type of E.coli was detected, and how long the bacteria have been in the water.

Hays South told Channel Two News that the testing didn’t determine the specific type of E.coli that was found and that the last routine water sampling, taken Dec. 3, found no evidence of contamination.

“I’ve been in touch with his immunologist today and I still don’t have enough details from questions she’s asking to decide what we need to do for his treatment,” Knight said.

According to the company, the first sampling, taken Jan. 3, showed evidence of coliform contamination, but no E.coli.

Follow-up sampling conducted two days later found E.coli in two of three samples. But the company says it believes there was enough chlorine in the system to prevent it from being a health threat.

Bilma PUD’s statement to KPRC2 read: 

“The Bilma Public Utility District is issuing a boiled water advisory to our customers.

“Our routine sampling, as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), detected coliform organisms. While we feel chlorine levels are sufficient to eliminate the coliform organisms, the TCEQ requires us to advise customers to boil water to ensure safe consumption.

“We have already re-sampled water and are having it tested at a certified lab. We expect to see safe drinking water levels in the next lab report on Thursday, January 10. 

“We apologize for the inconvenience of this situation. The Bilma Board will conduct a full-review of the test and lab process to ensure safe delivery of superior water quality to our residents, in accordance with EPA and TCEQ requirements.”

The HOA’s notice to residents read as follows:

What should I do? What does this mean?

  • DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. 
  • E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Human pathogens in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.*
  • The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice from their healthcare providers about drinking this water. 

What is being done?

  • We are continuing to test the water supply. We will inform you when tests show no bacteria are present and you no longer need to boil your water. We anticipate resolving the problem within 48 hours.
  • For more information, please contact Howard S. Wilhite, R.S., M.E.H. at 281-353-9809 or P. O. Box 1209, Spring, Texas 77383. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by bacteria and other disease-causing organisms are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

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